In a rather bizarre incident, Microsoft had to remove a tiny image of Santa Clause’s hat from one of their open-source software projects hosted on GitHub. Like every other American software firm, Microsoft too wanted to make the users of a popular developer tool VSCode (mainly used by computer programmers) feel the festive spirit. Hence they inserted a tiny image of Santa’s hat at the bottom left corner of the screen.
As you can see from the above image, the developers of VSCode have changed the universal settings symbol to one that is wearing a Santa’s hat. This is what a VSCode user named Christian-Schiffer found offensive. I don’t know what religion he subscribes too but like everyone else on GitHub, I too found Christian’s reaction (in this instance) a bit ludicrous.
On 19th December 2019, Christian posted a query on GitHub saying “Santa Hat on VSCode insiders and pushing of religion is very offensive to me“. He also accused them of attempting to promote religion among the software community. Furthermore, Christian believe Christians are to be blamed for the loss of lives of millions of Jews over the years.
I am going to play devil’s advocate for a moment. There is plenty of evidence that Christians did persecute Jews during the High Middle Ages in Europe. Christians have always blamed Jewish people for the death of Jesus Christ. So, there is no doubt about the legitimacy of this GitHub user’s accusations. This is why Microsoft must have responded to his complaint within hours.
In fact, a representative from Microsoft named Kai Maetzel replied by apologizing for hurting Christian’s feelings and also agreed to remove the hat from the project. The hat was removed within minutes following the reply.
The next day Christian replied thanked Microsoft for removing the Santa hat from VSCode and also acknowledged that the request he made was a bit strange. Thereafter, he shared a link to an article that explained how offensive the festival of Christmas really is.